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Positives and Negatives Of The Rough Winter

With more snow possible for next week, most of us have had enough of the Winter of 2014. However, there are both positives and negatives for the environment and the Barnegat Bay.

Barnegat Bay in Toms River
Barnegat Bay in Toms River (Barnegat Bay Alliance)

The last few years have been tough on the watershed – from Irene and Sandy to a barrage of coastal storms and nor’easters. But a lot of precipitation doesn’t always spell trouble. It can stave off warm weather droughts, help grass, plants and flowers grow and can be helpful to the marine life living inside sensitive areas like the estuary.

Dr. Stan Hales, who helms the Barnegat Bay Partnership, tells us “excess ground water can actually serve many benefits for the bay. It can clean out impurities and even help the bay recover from the nightmare that was Sandy. Many underwater plants and animals can benefit. It also serves to keep the flow of the bay going.”

But with all of those positives, the big negative they are dealing with is salt from snow plows and other de-icers. Some of them even contain dangerous levels of nitrogen that harm the bay – the same kind found in many fertilizers.  Similar to the push to get those fertilizers out of stores with a better and safer solution, there is legislation now in the works.

Hales adds “we want to make sure the bay stays healthy. All of the sand, salt and gravel that ends up in the bay can cause plants and animals to die. It’s very hard to prevent this when there has been so many storms this winter. This is one of the bad ones. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

For more on the Barnegat Bay Partnership, bbp.ocean.edu/

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